Monday, July 4, 2016

­čîčREVIEW: "Ooko" by Esme Shapiro (Childrens Fiction)

Esme Shapiro

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada - Tundra Books
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Lesson Taught: You don't need to change who you are to have friends
Publication Date: July 5, 2016

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Description from Publisher: Ooko has everything a fox could want: a stick, a leaf and a rock. Well, almost everything . . . Ooko wants someone to play with too! The foxes in town always seem to be playing with their two-legged friends, the Debbies. Maybe if he tries to look like the other foxes, one of the Debbies will play with him too. But when Ooko finally finds his very own Debbie, things don't turn out quite as he had expected!

A quirky, funny, charmingly illustrated story about finding friendship and being true to yourself.

My Rating:
I received a digital ARC from the publisher through for an honest, unbiased review. My opinion is my own.

This was cute and I see a lot of potential, but there were a few things that I felt could be improved upon.

Ooko is a sweet character with a fun attitude and I like that he confuses dogs and people for foxes. Then, he thinks that people are called "Debbies" because he hears someone call a little girl "Debbie." This is adorable, except that we never see the little girl again and it doesn't have any sort of payoff. Maybe if the racoon said "Debbies? I thought those were Carls!" or something similar to really bring the joke home.

The message of not changing who you are to get someone to like you is fairly subtle, though still present. The way Ooko changes himself is creative and whimsical. The ending of "To each their own" is also nice, as it confirms that there is nothing wrong with what someone else does even if it isn't for you. I think my, my husband's, and our 3.5-year-old son's favorite part was the "This is my stick. This is my other stick. And this is my other other stick" which was a great call-back to the things Ooko has and how the two have something in common.

The art style was unique and worked well for the tone of the story.

Overall, I think this is a great little book and one I'd recommend to friends with small kids.

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